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Cover Introduction to Bioinformatics

From genetics to genomes  

This chapter provides a background on genetics and genomes, and the development of DNA sequencing by biochemist Frederick Sanger. It begins by outlining some of the important landmarks in the history of genomics, from the classical work of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel, through Thomas Hunt Morgan and Alfred Sturtevant, to the discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA and the development of the human genome project. The chapter then distinguishes different types of maps: genetic linkage maps, chromosome banding patterns, restriction maps, and DNA sequences. It also looks at the basic computational problems of pattern matching. DNA sequence data can be used for personal identification, including the verification of family relationships, and crime investigation. Finally, the chapter considers the ethical, legal, and social problems associated with DNA sequence databases.